"Ugly duckling" Any new skin lesion that's not obviously like your others needs to be brought to the attention of your primary care physician at your annual physical exam. A bleeding or rapidly-enlarging lesion calls for an office visit. Pigmented lesions suspicious for melanoma are usually those that look different from their neighbors and should prompt a visit. Glad you're proactive -- good for you!
Can vary. Skin cancers come in many types and forms. Three important types include melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, & basal cell carcinoma. Dermatologist are trained to identify theses cancers by clinical examination, but definitive diagnosis for all suspicious lesions remains a skin biopsy, so that it can be checked under the microscope. I highly recommend www. Skincancer. Org for photos and detailed info.
Which kind? Basal cells look like pink patches or tiny shiny bumps like little drops of wax. Melanoma can look like an ordinary mole: dark brown or black spots or larger light brown patches. Squamous cell cancer often begins as an actinic keratosis which is a sharp or spiky pale patch on the skin that feels like it would run a nylon stocking if you ran it over it. They can also begin a non-healing sore spot.
Skin Cancer subtypes. Skin cancer falls into two categories - melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Depending on the type - some just appear to grow and change and not look like nay other skin lesion that you have on your body. Sometimes they also bleed. Your best bet is to be evaluated by a dermatologist if you are concerned about the possibility of having a skin cancer. Http://www. Mohspros. Com/library/3909/skinc.